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Calgary Family Law Blog

Family law process: Bankruptcy and divorce in Canada

Even those people who are ordered to pay child and/or spousal support aren't off the hook for those payments if they declare bankruptcy. In Canada, the family law process is closing aligned to the laws that govern bankruptcy. One can't hide behind bankruptcy laws to avoid financial obligations, especially where children are concerned. If back support payments are owed to a former spouse or children, a claim can be launched with the court.

In Canada, a person's net income can be lowered by deducting support payments, which would lower any income payments in the event of a bankruptcy. When bankruptcy is declared makes a big difference. If a divorce is finalized before bankruptcy is declared, assets can go to a former spouse as dictated by a family court order or legal separation prior to the filing. As such, these assets are not part of the bankruptcy filing and safe from creditors.

Alberta family law: Calculating the correct child support payment

When a couple with children splits up, there may be questions from each regarding child support -- who pays and how much. Family law in Alberta has succinct rules regarding how child support payments should be calculated. Who pays depends a lot on the custody arrangement and how much income each parent generates. Usually, the one who earns the most is the payor.

Essentially, who the children spend most of their time with will be the payee. Once the paying parent knows his or her gross income, he or she can use the Child Support Look Up Table in Alberta to come to a support figure by using the online calculator. To use the calculator, the paying parent enters his or her annual income before taxes, enters how many children are involved, selects the province in which he or she lives and then clicks on the look up button. The monthly payment will appear in blue.

Alberta bill tackles property rights issues of common law couples

A part of Alberta legislation that speaks to common law couples who have split is getting an overhaul. The new bill has the stamp of approval of Alberta's lawyers who say the law regarding property division and property rights among common law couples who separate, as it currently stands, isn't comprehensive enough.  Bill 28, which will be renamed the Family Property Act from the Matrimonial Property Act, will also include adult interdependent partners (aka common law partners).

The bill, which passed third reading in the Alberta legislature recently, will become law on Jan. 1, 2020. The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) had been lobbying the government for quite some time to secure this change since common law couples had very little to guide them. This law will bring a cohesiveness to how property is divided when common law partners break up.

Family law: Some changes to Divorce Act should be more concise

Most of the changes to the Divorce Act have been applauded. There are still 45 proposed changes recommended to the Act, which oversee family law rules, most of which centre around the best interests of the child. The Act also clarifies many issues using plain language that most Alberta residents, and all Canadians, can understand.

Best interests of the child include such things that pertain to their security, well-being and safety. Encouraging the use of alternative ways of settling issues such as mediation is also mentioned within the Act. Although the Act does take into consideration the best interests of the child, some in the legal profession say some revisions are necessary to make rules even more effective.

Family law: Are divorce payouts taxable?

Divorce settlements can be tricky things when it comes to taxes. In Canada, family law governs divorce issues, but it's the tax man, also known as Revenue Canada, that makes the rules regarding the money that comes from a divorce settlement. It all depends on how the money is or has been paid out. 

When it comes to property, cash given for a matrimonial home is neither taxable nor tax deductible. Support funds made in entirely one payment are also neither taxable nor tax deductible. Whatever the couple agrees to should be formally written into a separation agreement that should be looked over by each party's independent legal counsel.

Avoiding a possible family law dispute by communicating honestly

People head over heels in love may have unrealistic expectations of what marriage really means. To avoid any kind of possible family law dispute that may come with divorce, engaged Alberta couples might want to ask themselves a few questions before making the walk down the aisle. Being on the same page in regard to important life decisions is crucial for a happy marriage.

What couples fight about most, it seems, has to do with finances. So, talking about how each feels about financial planning is important. If a prospective partner is reluctant to divulge his or her financial business to his or her potential spouse, there should be some hard-hitting questions asked. A couple has to be on the same page regarding financial goals. 

Family law: First Christmas after divorce doesn't have to be sad

Christmas is a joyful time spent in the love of family and friends. But when there is a feeling of loss, as there may be when it comes to divorce, the holidays can be a particularly painful time. There are tools under the family law umbrella in Canada that may help families in these situations. Kids are especially affected and there are a number of things parents can do to make it easier for everyone. The family dynamic has changed, but parents can assure their children that they will have the love of both their parents, even though they may not be living under the same roof.

It is not uncommon for kids to be sad the first Christmas after their parents have separated or divorced. It's important to allow them to express that sadness so they can move past it. If both parents aren't present for Christmas dinner, acknowledging the absence in a positive way will help the children to accept that. Whatever plans the parents have worked out should be in the best interests of their children. 

Former Celebrity Couple Continues To Battle Over Child Custody

The battle over their son continues to rage between Brian Austin Green and Vanessa Marcil. Marcil, a citizen of Canada and her former partner, Austin Green, have been fighting over child custody of their son for more than a decade. She has now accused Green and his now wife, Megan Fox, of cutting the 16-year-old out of their lives. She said Austin Green and Fox tried to get sole custody of the boy 12 years ago when she was served legal papers, but today he supposedly isn't allowed to know where his biological father and stepmother, along with his half siblings, live.

When the boy was four, Austin Green and Fox petitioned the court for sole custody of him, which would have allowed Marcil to see her son for four days every month. They also wanted the actress to pay them child support. Austin Green and Fox lost that case and also lost the civil case in which they sought $200,000 from Marcil.

Family law: Divorce rules for same-sex couples in Alberta

Same-sex married couples have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts and so the same rules apply when they split up. As with heterosexual couples, family law differences are whether couples are legally married or in common law unions. In Alberta, common-law couples are referred to as adult interdependent partners, applicable after the couple has lived together for three years or more or has a child and live together.

If children are part of the relationship, whether the couple is married or living in a common law partnership, issues can get a little confusing. A same-sex couple can adopt a child, but if they have a child where one partner is biologically related, the other partner technically has no legal rights when it comes to the child. Adoption is an option, but experts say someone should not have to adopt his or her child in a same-sex partnership even if the child isn't biologically related. Efforts are underway to fix the law.

Family law: Is it possible to get survivor benefits from an ex?

When a married couple divorces and assets are divvied up, chances are a former spouse may be eligible to some of the other's pension fund. But what happens under family law in Canada if a couple is divorced and the former spouse dies while collecting some of those pension funds? Can the surviving spouse claim survivor benefits?

When a former spouse receives pension benefits from his or her former spouse, the law considers them to be transferred to the spouse and therefore can't revert to the surviving former spouse upon death if the couple was formally divorced.  If the couple was separated and not legally divorced, the surviving former spouse would likely be eligible for a survivor benefit. Those who were legally divorced and there is a child or children involved, the children would be entitled to 20 per cent of the deceased spouse's pension benefit up to the age of 25, but only if the child is still in school.

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